With Diablo II, set items had a somewhat lackluster role in gearing. While leveling up, finding a piece of a set was fairly common. However, being able to obtain an entire set was much rarer, at least while the gear was still viable. Unless twinking lower level characters or wearing the few end-game sets, these particular types of items just never played that big of a role in the itemization of Diablo.
With Diablo III, the development team is attempting to fix the issues from Diablo II to make set items more viable. However, we recently found out that they are still continuing to have issues with implementing this system.
Official Blizzard Quote:
Diablo: @Scyberdragon You are just all about set items all the time! They're not, yet.ScyberDragon: @Diablo How are set items working?
The developers of Diablo III are aware of the flaws of the mechanic and are working on multiple ideas to help fix the problems that set items have. A number of options have been presented to make set items more possible in the gearing of your character but each one has its own pros and cons.
The exact same as Diablo II: There is always the possibility that set items system will work the same way as it did in Diablo II. With a more accessible trade system, the possibility of completing a whole set while the gear is still viable could be much more likely.
Multiple items per slot: Another idea that has been tossed around is the possibility that each slot of a set could have multiple items that would complete that set. For example, a set may have three different chest pieces, all which would count towards completing the same set. This would allow for a wider variety of set items to drop and increase the possibility of completing a whole set.
Scalable with character level: If set items were to increase in stats with your character level, this could help your ability to find a whole set while the gear is still viable for your character. If you found one piece at level 10 and the next at level 15, as long as the gear scaled, you could still wear the whole set once found. However, a cap to this scale would have to be added to stop the need of only one set of gear for your character from level 1 -60.
Craftable set items: Crafting was added as a way to help compensate your character with gear that just happens to not drop for you. Set items could benefit greatly from this idea. Getting one piece of a set and never getting the rest negates the set item all together. There was also times where you would get one piece from one set and another piece from a different set. If you were able to salvage set items for materials to make items of a different set, this could help players control the ability to obtain a full set.
End-Game only sets: As noted earlier, most actual usage of set items in Diablo II were the few viable end-game sets. According to the most recent information, the possibility of set items in Diablo III being only end-game items is a strong possibility. This would also help lend just one more objective to do after hitting the level cap and needing more goals for your character to obtain.
No set items: There is always the possibility of set items being removed from Diablo III. Blizzard has stated that if they cannot find a system they like, they would remove it all together. Perhaps set items just are not viable in the loot heavy, randomization of Diablo.
So, when all is said and done, Diablo III has a wide variety of ways to add set items and make them usable. How would you like to see the system make a come back?
The results of last weeks poll was a bit one-sided. When asked what limitations there should be withe swapping of skills runes, over 50% of the voters thought the best way was to have the Mystic be the only way to swap them. Every time you visited the Artisan, you would get the opportunity to switch out these runes. The only other option that got a sizeable amount of votes was the option of being able to switch them out yourself as long as you were outside of combat. Increasing the frequency and availability to swap and experiment with different runes. If you would still like to voice your opinion on this topic, you can go here to vote.